Friday, October 05, 2007


This first Comic Art Friday of October is dedicated to everyone, everywhere, whose life has been touched by the scourge we call cancer. Although October is specifically National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let's take a moment to reflect upon the fact that "cancer" in fact describes a plethora of diseases, all of which deserve the intensive focus of medical science until we beat them into submission for good.

Some time back, I decided to create a Common Elements concept that acknowledged the universality of cancer. So far as I know, none of the major comics publishers has yet done a story about a superheroine afflicted with breast cancer. (Note to self: There's a pitch to be written.) There have been, however, at least a couple of male heroes who've battled the Big C. Veteran comics artist Christopher Ivy — best known as an inker on such titles as The Flash, Ghost Rider, and Moon Knight — brings together two of these stalwarts: Captain Marvel (who figured prominently in last week's Comic Art Friday presentation also) and Amazing Man.

Will Everett, better known as Amazing Man, is a relatively obscure yet fascinating superhero who first appeared in the delightfully nostalgic series All-Star Squadron, published by DC Comics in the early 1980s. Writer Roy Thomas borrowed the code name of an otherwise unrelated Golden Age hero for this character, who was based in part on 1930s Olympic track star Jesse Owens. Introduced as a villain, the new Amazing Man quickly saw the error of his ways and became a force for truth and justice as a member of the All-Star Squadron, fighting alongside such classic heroes as the original Hawkman and Atom during the World War II era.

In the 1990s, the now-aged Will Everett died of cancer. His grandson Will III picked up the Amazing Man mantle — along with his grandfather's power to transform his molecular structure into any kind of matter — and joined the Justice League. Although the latest Amazing Man hasn't been seen in some time, rumor has it that he may resurface soon in the current Justice Society of America series.

Even superheroes are not immune to the ravages of cancer. Those who battle this deadly disease every day, however — whether in their own bodies or on the battlefield of medical science — are real-life heroes in my book. May all their efforts succeed.

And that's your Comic Art Friday.

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1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Anonymous Tom Galloway offered these pearls of wisdom...

There's sorta been one superheroine story about breast cancer. From the Wikipedia entry on former Alpha Flight member Diamond Lil;

"However, this was not a good time for her as she found a lump on her left breast, believing it to be cancer. Her mutation was now a curse, as her impenetrable skin could not be cut by any scalpel to biopsy the lump.

Shortly after, a collection of alien bounty hunters came to Canada looking for a mysterious entity. In a fight with one of the aliens, Lil's skin was cut by their laser. Seeing this as her chance of hope, Lil chased down the alien and ripped the grafted laser out of his body. The technology department of Department H found a way to modify the laser for surgical purposes and was successfully able to biopsy the lump, which turned out to be an infected cyst filled with clotted blood and not cancer."

And, of course, there's Lisa Moore's breast cancer (and reoccurance of same) in the comic strip Funky Winkerbean, with other strip character Holly Budd also having had breast cancer. Oddly enough, today's strip is the one where Lisa dies.

4:03 PM  

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